Raleigh Strada 5 – Rugged and Highly Agile All-Rounder – Bike Review

Raleigh Strada 5 Bike

Raleigh says the Strada is designed to be fast, agile, and sporty. Its stripped back design features simple 1×10 Shimano Deore gearing and on-trend 650b wheels. Fitted with fat tyres inspired by the gravel-bike brigade, these should provide added comfort and cushioning while riding-as well as increasing speed.

Elsewhere, powerful, low maintenance Shimano hydraulic disc brakes aim to impart all-weather stopping. We couldn’t wait to get it out on the road…

The Ride

First impressions: Compared to most hybrids, the Strada has more in common with a nippy mountain bike than a ponderous city runaround. With quick handling and huge tyres, it’s ready to take on any route that piques your interest. This ruggedness is furthered by mountain-capable brakes and gearing.

However, thanks to slick tread on its fat tyres, the Strada never threatens to be a drag, and its extra capabilities are accommodated without adding excess weight. Definitely fun to muck about on during our initial spin, will it be efficient enough to excel on longer trips?

On the road: Fast on road but capable off it, the Strada proved perfect for tackling varied city routes. Always happy to take an unpaved shortcut, and adept at nipping up or down kerbs, it thrives on mixed terrain thanks to tough parts and chunky tyres. With small wheels and matching sized frame it’s unsurprising there’s almost no flex found anywhere.

Quick to get up to speed, the Strada is surprisingly skilled at maintaining momentum. Still, the upright front end favors comfort and control over racing-bike style efficiency, meaning it’s better suited to shorter trips or more sedate all-day jaunts. With a single front chainring, its 10 gears are sequential, allowing you to turn off your brain when clicking through them. While we’re big fans of the system, we did find ourselves running out of ratios on some hills.

More agreeable is the derailleur’s clever clutch mechanism. Preventing the drivetrain dapping around when the going gets rough, it stiffens the action of the swingarm to reduce the chance of the chain coming off and helps the bike stay silent.

Handling: Smaller 650b wheels are popular with mountain bikers but a niche choice for a hybrid. Very strong and quick to turn, in most applications they also give a slightly chattery ride along with increased rolling resistance. However, wrapped up in big tyres and employed on the Strada it’s almost impossible to notice any of these negatives.

Instead the enhanced ability to whip through traffic, or hop over the odd sleeping policeman, instantly stood out. The grip’s impressive too, as is the capacity to squash all obstacles in your path. Looking at the frame, the Strada’s chassis is relatively short. With small wheels and plenty of standover it’s inherently maneuverable. To create a decent amount of space between the saddle and stem it employs a relatively long stem.

Despite looking a little gangly, it’s not enough to slow down the bike’s handling, which remains one of its strengths. Attached to it is a wide riser bar. Of the kind normally found on mountain bikes, these make leaning the Strada over, or playing silly buggers by doing wheelies and bunny hops that much easier!

The frame: More diminutive than the other bikes on test the Raleigh’s low and short frame is made of double-butted 6061 alloy. Tough and very workmanlike, other than the hydroformed top tube, there’s not a lot going on in terms of jazzy tube shapes or fancy welding.

Dotted across it are fixings for conventional fenders and both front and rear racks, while on the underside of the downtube is a separate mount for an alternative front mudguard. With a minimum number of cables to deal with, those for the back brake and derailleur disappear into the frame just behind the head tube.

Emerging behind the bottom bracket their placement is hidden enough to be neat but not so obscure as to make replacing them difficult.

The Strada’s tough steel fork is accommodated within an oversized headtube. However, being only a standard diameter the reduction in girth between the two parts gives them the appearance of being slightly mismatched. While this doesn’t affect the bike’s performance, it isn’t its most aesthetically pleasing aspect.

Groupset: The 10-speed Deore groupset is the best you’ll and at this price and features an ultra-secure clutch mechanism to prevent the chain coming off. Employing just one front chainring provides simplified gear selection, although the overall range, along with the number of ratios is reduced. With just 10 cogs to choose from the single shifter does an excellent job of flicking through them.

Employing a two-way release system, the upper lever performs the standard down shift function, but can swing in either direction, allowing it to be released by the thumb or index finger. The result is easy and intuitive shifting that can be actuated with minimum finger strain and from various riding positions. A fairly wide Sunrace cassette stands in for the Shimano model you might expect. We wish it had a slightly easier lowest gear as long hills can be a bit of a grind.

Finishing kit: At 680mm wide the bars provide lots of leverage, while their subtle upwards and backwards arc is easy on the wrists. Held in place by a 95mm long stem the result is engaging steering. Supporting the rider’s bum the Selle Royal Shadow saddle is cushy and of a sensible shape.

Quite squishy, athletic types might want something harder. Where we’d have preferred a twin-bolt model to guard against slippage, holding it up is a nondescript single-bolt seatpost. We’re bigger fans of the chain guard and retainer which keep the chain on the chaining, and your trouser leg away from both.

Wheels: The uncommon 650b wheel size won us over, partly thanks to the voluminous WTB Horizon tyres that muffled imperfections in the road. Impressing with good grip and fast rolling for such abroad option, without torturing an answer from them it’s hard to know how puncture proof they’ll be in the long term.

Standing up well in our test, prior experience suggests they aren’t quite as tough as some. At their heart the Shimano hubs maybe basic, but you can trust them to be long lasting and easily serviceable.

Raleigh Strada 5 Specs

  • Frame: Aluminium Alloy, Chromoly fork
  • Groupset: Shimano Deore 10-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano M315 Hydraulic
  • Chainset: RSP Single 40t 170mm
  • Casette: Sunrace 11-34t
  • Bars: Raleigh Alloy City Bars
  • Stem: Alloy Ahead
  • Saddle: Selle Royal
  • Seatpost: Alloy Micro Adjust 30.4mm
  • Wheels: Double Wall 32h/Shimano TX505 Centerlock
  • Tyres: WTB Horizon 650b x 2.0

Geometry

ClaimedMeasured
Top tube (TT)578mm560mm
Seat tube (ST)457mm465mm
Fork length (FL)N/A421mm
Head tube (HT)150mm150mm
Head angle (HA)69°72°
Seat angle (SA)73°73°
Wheelbase (WB)1,077mm1,075mm
BB drop (BB)45mm45mm

Rating: 7.8/10

Raleigh Strada 5

7.8

Frame

7.0/10

Components

8.0/10

Wheels

8.0/10

The Ride

8.0/10
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